“The Cottagette” as a feminist text.

“The Cottagette” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, can be looked at as a feminist text because of the year it was written and the tone of the story. By the early 1900’s women were fighting for their equality of rights. In either a relationship or marriage women had to be housewives and do all the household duties while their other halves worked. They stayed home all day either taking care of the children, doing  laundry, cooking, cleaning the typical role of the women was rarely questioned until women started to speak out saying they are able to do more than what society wanted them to do.

The reason why I can consider this a feminist text because Gilman says “Lois likes to do housework, but it spoils her hands for practicing… I always work best in the morning; but of course housework has to be done in the morning to; it is astonishing how much work there is in the littlest kitchen”(page 5, paragraph 5).  Here it clearly says that Lois likes what she has to do on a daily basis and you see this first hand on a woman’s perspective that enjoys what she does.  Also another reason why this can be viewed as a feminist text is when Gilman writes “The Cottagette” I loved unreservedly. It was so little and new and clean, smelling only of its fresh planed boards—they hadn’t even stained”(page 1, paragraph 9). It shows that she appreciates the little things in life.

The Cottagette is a symbol throughout the story which I believe represents all housewives, who have a little place in the house to call their own which is the kitchen. Where they are in control of what takes places in there and it’s what most men don’t interfere with, which is to keep the house in order. Gilman molds Lois, as the inspiration to most women who take pride in what they do.

3 thoughts on ““The Cottagette” as a feminist text.

  1. Although I agree that “The Cottagette” can be read as a feminist text, I’m not sure I follow your reasoning. Would others agree that Lois is a feminist character? How does she promote feminist ideas in the story? What does she influence Malda to do, and how does that play out? What does it mean to be a feminist text? How is that different from a feminine text, or a text about women’s issues, or one about women?

  2. I do agree that The Cottagette is feminist text because of the year that it was published. At this time women were very domesticated and had to be or else they were frowned upon. I think its very important for womens views to be showcased and explored upon so that we can get a greater understanding of what womens thoughts were back during this time period. Its also a great benchmark to show how much womens rights and the ideas of women have changed since then.

  3. We need to be careful when we use a term like feminist text that we don’t do so without understanding what that means. What does feminism mean? Why would Lois’s pleasure in housework make this a feminist text, @Star? Also, what does the year have to do with whether it’s a feminist text, @Kristen? We might have a general understanding of what conditions were for women more than a century ago, but we want to be more specific in our analysis. Once we have a clear definition of the term, we need to use evidence we have in the texts we read, or in research we might do carefully using credible sources. What evidence do we have from “The Cottagette” that shows it’s a feminist text?

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